Tests for disabilities in new-borns must : Bombay High Court

 

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HC ORDER State asked to make screening tests mandatory in hospitals across Maharashtra and maintain data related to tests

Hospitals across Maharashtra will have to carry out compulsory screening tests to check disabilities in new-born babies.  The Bombay high court on Friday directed the state government to make it mandatory to conduct tests on babies to check for disabilities and also maintain data of such tests.  A division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice SJ Vazifdar was hearing a clutch of petitions filed by NGOs seeking implementation of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunity and Protection of Rights and Full Participation Act), 1995, which reserves 3% jobs in government departments for the differently-abled.

Advocate general Ravi Kadam assured the Bombay high court that the state will direct all state government-run hospitals, municipal corporations/councils and zilla parishads, as well as private hospitals to conduct tests and collate data on a quarterly basis. The court has asked the government to issue a notification to this effect by April 30.  The high court has asked the court-appointed committee to identify gadgets/devices/software required for visually impaired employees, within two weeks. Once this process is complete, government officers, including principal secretaries of the social welfare department and finance department, and representatives of blind associations, have been asked to sort out pricing issues.

“Within two months, it should be possible for the state [government] to find requirements of visually impaired and software required by them so as to enable them [government] to finalise budget to procure it [software],“ the high court said. Advocates Uday Warunjikar and Kanchan Pamnani said the government has still not cleared the backlog in appointing visually impaired as required under the Act and no recruitment of the visually impaired had happened in the past three years.  The HC has directed the state to submit the number of vacant posts, which would be available for the differently-abled under the reservation policy after 1996, when the Act came into force.

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